Thursday Morning News

The US FBI has charged a former Apple employee with theft of trade secrets relating to Apple’s autonomous car project. Xiaolang Zhang designed and tested circuit boards to analyse sensor data for Project Titan, where he had “broad access to secure and confidential internal databases” due to his position. Zhang then announced he was leaving Apple to move to China to work at an autonomous car startup, at which point Apple became suspicious, and, following an investigation of the issue, revealed he had downloaded confidential and sensitive information. There’s a few other details in the MacRumors report, which give us some insight into Apple’s security protocols for new and upcoming projects.

Analyst Ming-Chi Kuo is giving hope to millions of Mac owners this morning, with new rumours claiming a broad refresh of Apple’s product lineup. You’ve probably already heard about the upcoming iPhone and iPad models, but Kuo says that every Mac model will be updated with at least processor upgrades. While no other details were mentioned, it’s possible Apple could announce additional changes when they reveal all later this year.

The first third-party speaker with AirPlay 2 support is Sonos. Software updates bringing Apple’s multi-room and Siri controlled audio solution are beginning to roll out for the Sonos One, Play:5, Beam, and Playbase speakers, with any further Sonos devices also supporting AirPlay 2 provided you have at least one of the aforementioned devices on your network. Ars have been testing a beta version of the update, and says it works as expected.

Jason Momoa is the latest addition to Apple’s original programming lineup, having been cast as the lead role in “See”, an epic, world-building drama set in the future. Variety covers a few other aspects of the show, but Momoa’s addition is just the latest in a long line of original programming from Apple.

With every new iOS feature comes its own lawsuit, and it seems the Do Not Disturb While Driving feature in iOS 11 is no exception. SMTM Technology alleges Apple’s driver safety feature infringes on their patent for making a mobile device inactive and that inactivity verification, but we’ll have to see how this one shakes out in court.

A revised update for the third developer beta of macOS Mojave has been released. The update fixes an issue with unexpected Feedback Assistant crashes, which seems like a pretty important part of any beta OS release, given that’s the primary method of providing feedback to Apple about any aspect of the OS.

Affinity Designer is launching on the iPad today, and if Affinity Photo was like Photoshop for the iPad, then Affinity Designer is like Illustrator. There’s all the trimmings you expect, including full Apple Pencil support, iOS 11-specific features like drag and drop, although it only works on certain models of iPads. Affinity Designer is currently on launch sale pricing for $21.99 on the Australian App Store.

Continuing this week’s look back at a decade of App Store history, 9to5Mac takes us through the design evolution of the earliest apps. From changing UI paradigms to accomodate for larger and larger displays, to the shift in icon design in line with changes to the overall look and feel of iOS, app design has changed enough to be noticeable across the ten years, even if everything still feels familiar.

Meanwhile, MacStories tells us what it’s been like to sell apps in the App Store over its ten year history. The business of selling apps has changed along with the App Store: while the numbers surrounding App Store downloads and payments become impossible to grasp, the proliferation of quality apps for every purpose has somewhat led to a race to the bottom in terms of pricing, while other developers look to other revenue streams to support ongoing development.

Craig Hockenberry has a tribute to iBeer, a fun gag app that did nothing without you. Hockenberry writes that it kicked off the revolution of spatial apps, which in itself is pretty special.

Start the discussion at